Return to the Sea

Alcohol courses through my unfamiliar bloodstream.

The wind whipping off the ocean bites against my thin sweatshirt, a cold rush running over my spine, and I pull the zipper on my jacket. The humidity that was so thick earlier has since dissipated, and the cool sand that crawls onto my sandals and between my toes is a welcome alternative to the fiery particles of a few hours ago.

It’s something different out here at night. More quiet, natural. No towels, chairs, footballs, or coolers. If you face the ocean, away from the light of beachfront homes, civilization ceases.

Lightning crashes upon the ocean in the distance, illuminating a perfect black sky. My cousin Josh and I finish our last cans. Not much light reaches the beach, so we use a flashlight to see what is ahead. Single crabs skitter sideways across the sand, away from the light, returning to their home. What is it about the beach?

We’re on the prowl. Girls in our minds and alcohol in our blood. Going to a condo area where there are basketball courts, an arcade and girls…I become distracted by the lightning, it ignites the sky oranges, reds and blues, inviting me.

Why do we flock to the ocean? Man might meddle with the beach, but overall, there’s something about it and the ocean that’s still very primitive and alien and frightening and attractive.

Just yesterday a child ran up on shore, tears flowing down his face as he held his leg up to his mother, where red lacerations from a jellyfish could be seen.

Lightning is a natural electrostatic discharge produced during a thunderstorm. It seems too beautiful to be purely reactionary, just a flowing discharge out of the sky like urine or blood out of a human.

My cigar burns down as orange-red embers hit the chilled sand and immediately extinguish, eventually washing out to sea. The alcohol continues its path, speeding my reactions up but somehow making the journey down the beach seem longer.

I walk toward the ocean, letting it splash my feet. It is cold for August. The waves gently lap upon the shore, extracting from it sand, sediment and scales.

The lightning cracks the skyline once again. I wonder what’s out there in the ocean before me. What creatures are eating, mating, dying, as I walk the shore? No second guessing, no conscience. How we would have been without the fall. Was there never a fall? Did we crawl out of that seemingly endless horizon before me? Catholicism quickly attempts to thwart the thought.

My attention returns to a pair of faceless ghosts heading in the opposite direction. Large grass near the houses flap in the wind, creating the only constant noise along the shore. My feet squish into the wet sand, imprinting my footsteps for a brief moment before they are washed away. Lights from the basketball court are finally visible up ahead, leading the way as another lighting bolt flashes across the sky.

Return to the Sea


Joined February 2008

  • Artist

Artist's Description

My musings in hindsight of being at the beach at age 15 under the guide of cheap alcohol.

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